Policies and Procedures


The College of the Sequoias Financial Aid Guide is made available to prospective and current students and their families to provide an overview of the policies and procedures that pertain to the eligibility and awarding of federal and state financial aid.  The Financial Aid Office encourages all students and their families to become familiar with the referenced document. 

An overview of the College of the Sequoias’ financial aid policies and procedures may be found below along with helpful links.  Financial aid recipients are responsible for reviewing the first four policiesQuestions should be directed to the Financial Aid Office at financialaid@cos.edu.


 Satisfactory Academic Progress


The U.S. Department of Education requires, as a condition of receiving Title IV federal student aid, that students be making satisfactory academic progress toward an associate degree, vocational certificate of at least sixteen (16) units, or transfer to a four-year college or university.  This policy is also applied to state student aid.

At College of Sequoias (COS), students are considered to be meeting the satisfactory academic progress standards if the following four requirements are met:

1.  Must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 (equivalent to a C average).
    GPA units are those with grades of A, B, C, D, or F.

2.  Must complete at least 67 percent of units attempted each semester to remain on track.  Students must complete at 
    least 67% of the total number of units they attempt (earned hours divided by attempted hours).  
3.  Must not have earned a degreeStudents have not earned an associate degree or higher from a regionally accredited 
    college or university. 

  Must not have exceeded the Maximum Attempted Unit Timeframe: The maximum allowable timeframe for receiving aid
     is equal to 150 percent of the length of your academic program.  
     Example: 150% of a 60 unit program (60 x 1.5) equals 90 attempted units, at which time the student would be disqualified.

 Return to Title IV Funds

Federal Regulations require that students who receive Federal Title IV Student Financial Aid and withdraw from all classes prior to completing 60% of the semester may be required to repay all or a portion of financial assistance received. At College of the Sequoias, the Federal Pell Grant Program, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and Direct Loans are subject to these repayment provisions.

Students who receive federal financial aid and withdraw prior to the following dates may be billed for a portion of their financial aid:

Fall Semester 2018 - October 23, 2018
Spring Semester 2019 - March 27, 2019
Summer 2019 - date to be posted in the Financial Aid Office

Students who fail all courses attempted will also be subject to repayment provisions
. The Financial Aid Office will assume that students who fail all classes only attended 50% of the semester. A calculation for repayment will be made based on that assumption. If such students were actually in attendance past the 50% point, he/she must submit written documentation from an instructor within forty-five (45) days of the repayment notification.

 Overpayment Policy

If the student receives financial aid and never attends class, full repayment will be required. If the student made an error on the financial aid application that increases eligibility, repayment will be required. The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) will be notified and the student will not be eligible to receive additional payments at any postsecondary institution until payment arrangements are made. The student may contact the College of the Sequoias Financial Aid Office to repay the amount due. Federal financial aid overpayments not paid by the end of the academic year will be referred to the Collection Department of the U.S. Department of Education. The student must then make payment arrangements directly with the U.S. Department of Education to regain financial aid eligibility. State financial aid overpayments shall be paid directly to College of the Sequoias.

 Eligible Majors

To receive Title IV federal financial aid at College of the Sequoias, students must be enrolled in an eligible program for the purpose of completing an Associate of Arts (A.A. or AA-T), an Associate of Science (A.S. or AS-T), transfer requirements, or a vocational certificate program that requires a minimum of sixteen (16) units.

The Eligible Majors for Financial Aid Eligibility flyer lists financial aid eligible majors, as well as ineligible majors.  Please be aware that, although the student may receive an award letter, if an ineligible major is selected, financial aid will not be disbursed to the student.

If the student wishes to change his/her major, they must see an academic counselor to do so.

 Fraud Policy


The College of the Sequoias' Financial Aid Office is responsible for referring applicants and financial aid recipients who are suspected of having engaged in fraudulent or other criminal misconduct in connection with the receipt of federal financial aid funds to the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Inspector General (OIG).

If a student, employee or another individual is suspected of misreporting information or altering documentation to fraudulently obtain federal student aid funds, a report and evidence will be provided to the OIG at the following address:

U.S. Department of Education
Office of Inspector General
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1510
Telephone Number: 1-800-647-8733

OIG Regional Office in Long Beach, California
Telephone Number: (562) 980-4141


 High School Diploma or Equivalent Required

You must have a high school diploma or the equivalent to receive federal aid, such as the Pell Grant, Federal Work Study, and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG).  The high school diploma must be issued by a recognized accredited institution and may not be obtained or purchased from a diploma mill.  High school diploma equivalencies include:
  • High School Diploma from a foreign school (if it is equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma) 
  • General Educational Development (GED) Certificate
  • California High School Proficiency Exam
  • Homeschooling at the secondary level as defined by state law
Exception: Students who did not graduate with a high school diploma or the equivalent may be eligible for Title IV federal  
student aid if they met the following condition prior to July 1, 2012:
Enrolled in and attended an eligible educational program at a Title IV eligible school.
Students without a high school diploma or one of the above equivalencies, and who fall into the above exception and met its conditions are eligible to use one of the following high school diploma alternatives:
  • Pass the Ability-to-Benefit (ATB) Test - Contact the Financial Aid Office for sign-up.
  • Successfully pass at least 6-semester units of degree-applicable courses.

 Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540) | CA Nonresident Tuition Exemption Law

Any student, other than a nonimmigrant, who meets all of the following requirements, shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at all public colleges and universities in California. The student must have attended a California high school (public or private) for three or more years and have graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent. Official high school transcripts must be submitted to the College of the Sequoias Admissions & Records Office. The student must also file an affidavit with the college stating that he/she has filed an application to legalize his/her immigration status or will file an application as soon as he/she is eligible to do so. The nonresident student meeting the criteria will be exempted from paying nonresident tuition but will not be classified as a California resident. AB 540 does not make the student eligible for federal or state financial aid. For more information, please contact the College of the Sequoias Admissions & Records Office.

Are you eligible for the AB 540.pdf

 Dependency Override

The U.S. Department of Education states that eligibility for financial assistance is based on the assumption that the parents or guardians of students are primarily responsible for paying for a college education. If the directions on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) require parent/guardian information then by law the student is required to provide their information.

In extreme hardship cases, the College of the Sequoias Financial Aid Office may be able to assist students who are technically dependent according to federal regulations, but who do not or cannot have contact with their parent. In such cases, the student must complete a Request for Dependency Override form. The student will need to provide written documentation from a third party professional (e.g., minister, psychologist, social worker, etc.) confirming the above. Additional documentation may be requested if warranted by the institution. 

To request a hard copy of the form, please contact the College of the Sequoias Financial Aid Office. The form, along with all applicable documentation, and a completed FAFSA should be submitted for review to any one of the Financial Aid Offices in our college district.

 Verification Policy


The College of the Sequoias Financial Aid Office is responsible in verifying the information provided on the student's financial aid application if it has been selected for verification.  Please read our policy regarding verification below for more information.

 Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) | Written Consent Form

Federal regulations “provides that an agency or institution may not have a policy or practice of disclosing personally identifiable information from education records without the 'written consent' of the parent or eligible student” (Federal Register – Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). College of the Sequoias Financial Aid Office provides a “Written Consent Form” to students who wish to consent to a family member or third party having access to his/her financial aid records.

 Remedial Courses

Students are permitted to attempt up to thirty (30) remedial semester units at College of the Sequoias as long as they provide preparation for courses required for an Associate of Arts (A.A. or AA-T), an Associate of Science (A.S. or AS-T), vocational certificate or transfer program. All courses, including remedial, ESL, repeated courses, and courses taken while pursuing other majors, with grades A, B, C, D, or F, as well as W, I, NC, NP, NG, will be counted as attempted units applied to the maximum attempted unit timeframe allowed.

 Special Circumstances

In cases where family income is expected to be substantially less than the previous year or if you have a special circumstance that warrants review by the College of the Sequoias Financial Aid Office (e.g., excessive medical costs), you may request a review of family contribution and financial aid eligibility. The Special Circumstances Request form is available online or a hard copy may be requested by contacting the Financial Aid Office and should be submitted with suggested documentation as referenced on the form.
Last Updated: 8/1/2018 2:24 PM